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Living Will vs Last Will and Testament

Living Will vs Last Will and Testament

By Hampton & Pigott
Posted on 2-15-2021

Legal terms are varied and can be easily confusing, especially when terms seem to be very similar. For example, many may not be clear on what the differences are between a will and a living will. Are there different ways of describing the same thing? Are they different? How exactly are they different? We are here to break it down for you.

Living Will

No one wants to imagine what would happen if they were to suddenly become ill and incapacitated. The unfortunate truth is, however, that sometimes it happens. A living will is there for these scenarios and outlines your end of life decisions beforehand if you are unable to express them due to incapacitation.

Living wills are smart to have if you are faced with major surgery, a life-threatening illness, or if you simply like to be prepared for anything. There are many things you can outline in your living will. Your wishes regarding resuscitation, donation of organs, or whatever else you want for your person can be noted in a living will.

A durable power of attorney is a similar type of document that you can have drawn up in the case that you want to give power to another competent adult to express your wishes in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. Be careful to choose someone who fully understands and respects your specific wishes.

Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament or will, is a document that outlines how your assets will be distributed following your death. You will need to appoint an executor to carry out your wishes stated in the will. Lawyers and financial advisors can be appointed as your executor, but many people choose to have their spouse or another family member in this position.

The executor will take the steps of paying for your funeral and burial costs and use assets from your estate to pay creditors. Once those things have been handled, the remaining assets will be given to those named in your will.

If you have children, of course note who will be taking care of them if they are still minors. And if you have pets, name the individuals who will be taking over their care. Regardless of your circumstances, creating a will can take a lot of thought. It can be difficult to know or remember what you should include. If you need help creating a will, Hampton & Pigott stands ready to help you and walk you through the process.